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Friday, August 1, 2014 | Last updated: 2:52am

UAPD officers work to support student success



We typically only talk to the police when something has gone wrong, which contributes to an unfair image of authoritarian officers exerting power over us.

I joined Officer Andrew Lincowski of the University of Arizona Police Department for a ride-along last Saturday night to explore this stereotype from the perspective of the police. During the ride-along, it was evident that UAPD is driven by one goal: to keep students safe so that we can enjoy our collegiate experience.

Lincowski spent four years with the Tucson Police Department before transferring to UAPD. He said he made the move because he believes that students on this campus are smart and that they are going to be successful in their lives, and it is his job to make sure that they can safely enjoy everything the UA campus has to offer.

During the ride-along, we spotted two men stumbling down First Street away from Manzanita-Mojave Residence Hall. Lincowski lit them up with the spotlight as they shoved handles of Gran Legacy vodka down the front of their pants.

They admitted to having four to five drinks at a party at the Level apartment complex. One of the men blew a .31 BAC into a testing device — I couldn’t believe he was still standing.

Another officer met us at the scene. Then Lincowski and I took the man who’d blown a .31 BAC home, walked him up the stairs, brought him to the bathroom and put him back in his room in Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall. The officers invested an hour of their time just ensuring this young man ended his night safely in his bed.

UAPD is not out to get anyone; its officers are on this campus to protect students and faculty, whether from each other or from themselves.

Unquestionably, UAPD kept this particular individual out of a dangerous situation. According to a report by Clemson University, a .30 BAC can cause an individual to “suddenly pass out and be difficult to awaken.” This man blew a .31 BAC, and the officers speculated that his BAC was still rising. A BAC of .35 has the same effects as surgical anesthesia, and may even cause an individual to stop breathing.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was how much I genuinely liked all of the officers.

During the MIP stop, the officers lightened the mood with jokes and stories — a tactic that could help protect these students in the future.

As we walked the pair of drunken students back to their dorms, the less intoxicated of the two (he only blew a .22 BAC) shouted, “Hey, who was that shorter officer I was hanging out with? That guy was cool. I’m gonna call that guy next time I need some help.”

We might see the police as stern rule-mongers who love getting people in trouble, but power hungry is the opposite of how I would describe UAPD. The officers displayed compassion, a sense of humor and a devotion to the idea that students should feel safe on their college campus.

“We specialize in the services we provide,” Sgt. Martin Ramirez told me before I headed out for my ride-along. UAPD is here for the safety of college students, he added.

One officer told me that “students develop a negative viewpoint” of police officers. He said he accepts it as a reality of the job, but does his best to combat the idea.

“We have the public trust, and we can’t abuse that,” Lincowski said.

Students should build trust in UAPD; officers are not tyrants, they’re people just like you and me who are here to help.

Anthony Carli is a senior studying political science. Follow him on Twitter.com/@acarli10.


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